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We had to put down our 11 year old Rottweiler yesterday but…

We had to put down...
We had to put down our 11 year old Rottweiler yesterday but it still bugs me that we dont have a clear answer.She was 11 years old and started loosing weight the last month. We didn't think it was that serious as she still ate and was healthy and happy. We thought it might be a sign of old age.Yesterday morning she woke up "perfectly" healthy and 2 hours later she suddenly started vomiting (clear watery fluid), and within literally 20min she couldn't stand or sit anymore, her eyes sagged, she started shaking as if she was cold, her temp was 38 degrees and her eyes and gums turned yellow.We immediately took her to the vet. The vet said it was liver failure and suggested rather putting her down as she didn't think at her age she will pull through.Can liver failure happen so quickly???
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Answered in 11 hours by:
7/12/2017
Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,517
Experience: More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. My name is Rebecca; I am a veterinarian. Please give me a moment to type my answer.

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I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My sincere condolences. It must have been hard to lose her so suddenly.

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I just came online and saw your question. I am sorry you did not get help from a Just Answer expert before now.

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Liver failure usually does not happen quickly, but her disease probably started earlier than she let on. Dogs like to hide their symptoms if they can, and then we see them "suddenly" become very sick. When you noticed the weight loss, that is probably when this started. I so often see things like cancer as "emergencies"; the dog just never let the owners know anything was wrong until the condition got to the point of not being able to fight it any longer.

Once I saw a dog come in for collapsing. He has been playing with the children in the yard when it happened; there had been no clue that he was sick. He was a medium sized dog and he had a tumor the size of a soccer ball in his abdomen; it nearly filled his whole abdomen. The owners were sure he had been fine until that day, but clearly that tumor had been growing for months.

So I suspect your dog's liver disease had been going on a lot longer than you knew, and her weight loss was probably the first clue. Was an autopsy done?

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Her gums being yellow are a sign of liver disease, but can also be a sign of hemolysis, which is red blood cells being rapidly broken down. Were blood tests done?

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Her age, her lowered body temperature, weakness, the yellow gums, do suggest she had a serious, likely fatal condition. Without blood tests or an autopsy I can't tell you more than that, except that so often our older pets hide their final illnesses from us, so that we see it as sudden or an emergency when it had actually been there for a longer time. I see this all the time, in my 30 years. My own dog did it to me; she suddenly had a seizure and when I did blood tests her liver numbers were awful. An ultrasound and biopsy revealed a large liver tumor, fast growing, and inoperable. She was gone soon after.

My sincere condolences for your loss. Please let me know if this was helpful and if I can answer anything else.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Hello Rebecca, thank you for coming back to me. We are so heartbroken at the moment.The vet did a blood swab of her ear. She could not find any disease under the microscope. Her red and white blood cells were normal. When they took her temperature (38.3), her stool was tiny bit loose, but they couldn't find anything there (no blood). We were given the choice of doing further blood tests, but because we reside in a rural area, far away from the cities, the blood would have been sent with a courier and that would have taken 2-3days to get results. The vet in her opinion was sure she wouldn't last that long and wouldn't be able to pull through. And they were afraid that we did all the tests and before getting the results she would pass away, and in their personal opinion it would be more humane to put her to sleep.My husband and I also wondered if she could have been poisoned as the onset was so fast? The symptoms she showed was:
- vomiting (clear watery liquid)
- paralysis (she just suddenly could stand or sit after she started vomiting)
- droopy eyelids
- she shivered (as if cold)The vet said in her opinion it wasn't it as she did not have seizures???I know 11 years is old for a Rottweiler, but she the previous night my hubby and I said she looks like she has atleast a year or more in her. Yes, she couldn't jump up onto the couch anymore, but she ate and she looked happy and played with the kids.

I honestly do not believe the onset was as fast as it seemed. In my experience, her problems started when she stopped getting on the couch, and started losing weight. This does not happen just because of age; there is a reason for weight loss and in older dogs, it is usually serious.

Poison is a possibility, but this is not what we see with the common poisons. Strychnine causes seizures and collapse; antifreeze causes kidney, not liver, failure; rat poison causes internal bleeding.

If this was hemolysis, bleeding in the blood vessels, that could be sudden. That can be triggered by autoimmune disease, cancer, but often we don't know the cause.

I agree she probably could not have made it till the blood tests came back since it would take days for the results. I am so sorry.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
something like the parvo virus, could that be a contributing factor? Please keep in my my Rotties shots were up to date and she was really given the best food. She slept on the bed at night and were really pampered. She was also an indoors girls. We got a puppy for my daughter about a month ago, the pup got a bit of an upset tummy and vomited... we took her to the vet, she was put on antibiotics and after 2 days she got better. Could our Rottie perhaps have picked that up, and just carried it without showing any symptoms, and that contributed to her immune system breaking down? I'm so sorry for all the questions, we are just at a lost! We really took so good care of her. We were even told at a stage she had to slim down as she was too fat and that would hurt her hips, so we cut back on the "snacks" and we thought that is why she started loosing weight, not because she was sick!

Parvo virus is mostly seen in puppies and does not affect the liver and cause jaundice. If she was vaccinated, this was not parvo.

This does not sound like a virus she got from a puppy. I dearly wish the veterinarian had offered you an autopsy so you could know what was wrong with her.

If her gums and eyes were yellow, that shows either liver disease, or hemolysis.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
the humane thing whether it was liver disease or hemolysis, was what we did? There was no way of getting her strong again? She passed safely in our arms, and I know she is in a better place now, I just wanted to make sure what we did was the best thing for her. She showed us so much love and kindness and we just wanted to show her the respect she deserved.

There is no way to know for sure, without blood tests and an autopsy, but it sounds to me like she could not have waited for the test results. I do believe you did what was best. It is awful to lose a dog so suddenly, and to have to make decisions when you are stressed and worried and fearful, but if you had not chosen euthanasia, you may have just watched her suffer to death.

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I will be offline awhile, and get back soon. Please let me know if this is helpful and again, my sincere condolences.

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I am back; can I help with anything else?

Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,517
Experience: More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
Verified
Rebecca and 87 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you so much for all your help and compassion! It truly means a lot to us!!

You are welcome. Thanks for the great rating. I am so sorry for your loss.

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Hi Andie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Rebecca
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